Editor’s Note: In a chapter from The Obama Moment: European and American Perspectives (European Union Institute for Security Studies, 2010), Bruce Jones evaluates the first year of the Obama presidency with regard to transatlantic relations, arguing that Europeans should seize the opportunities created by the change of leadership in the United States.
During the Cold War the transatlantic relationship provided the core of international order. Shared values and shared threats undergirded the relationship, which was institutionalized primarily in NATO but also in hundreds of informal contacts and collaborations in every realm of foreign policy. In the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the twin towers, NATO and other manifestations of the transatlantic relationship were less central to geopolitics but were nevertheless important at critical moments in managing tensions and crises, especially where Russia was involved.
[The economy is] an issue where [Rouhani] has a greater chance of avoiding real gridlock within the system itself. It’s not nearly as dangerous as taking on issues of political prisoners or trying to open up the political space to those who feel marginalized.